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E.g., 04/27/2017
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  • News

    ‘Fossil’ groundwater is not immune to modern-day pollution

    Groundwater that has lingered in Earth’s depths for more than 12,000 years is surprisingly vulnerable to modern pollution from human activities. Once in place, that pollution could stick around for thousands of years, researchers report online April 25 in Nature Geoscience. Scientists previously assumed such deep waters were largely immune to contamination from the surface.

    “We can’t...

    04/25/2017 - 16:12 Sustainability, Pollution, Earth
  • 50 Years Ago

    50 years ago, continental drift began to gain acceptance

    Drifting theories shake up geology

    Continental drift, a theory often considered amusing but rarely important, seems about to become the focus of a revolution in geology. At the least, it has already split the geological community into those who find the evidence for it “formidable” and those who think it is not yet formidable enough to constitute a proof. — Science News, April 29, 1967...

    04/20/2017 - 09:00 Earth
  • Say What?

    ‘River piracy’ on a high glacier lets one waterway rob another

    River piracy\RIV-er PAHY-ruh-see \ n.

    The diversion of headwaters from one stream into another

    Ahoy! There be liquid booty on the move in the high mountains. Since May 2016, a channel carved through one of northwestern Canada’s largest glaciers has allowed one river to pillage water from another, new observations reveal. This phenomenon, almost certainly the result of climate change, is...

    04/17/2017 - 11:00 Earth, Climate
  • News

    More than one ocean motion determines tsunami size

    Earthquake-powered shifts along the seafloor that push water forward, not just up, could help supersize tsunamis.

    By combining laboratory experiments, computer simulations and real-world observations, researchers discovered that the horizontal movement of sloped seafloor during an underwater earthquake can give tsunamis a critical boost. Scientists previously assumed that vertical...

    04/14/2017 - 07:00 Oceans, Earth
  • Science Ticker

    Volcanic eruptions nearly snuffed out Gentoo penguin colony

    Penguins have been pooping on Ardley Island off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula for a long, long time. The population there is one of the biggest and oldest Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) colonies. But evidence from ancient excrement suggests that these animals didn’t always flourish.

    The Gentoo colony on Ardley Island continues to grow in comparison to other Antarctic penguin...

    04/12/2017 - 14:00 Ecology, Animals, Earth
  • Say What?

    Whirlwinds of crystals called gravel devils spotted in Andes Mountains

    Gravel devil\GRAV-uhl DEV-uhl \ n.

    A whirlwind containing gravel-sized debris

    Towering, crystal-filled twisters periodically swirl in a valley nestled between two volcanoes in the Andes Mountains, newly reported observations show. The odd weather events are the first record of large pieces of gravel efficiently moving across a landscape by suspension in air.

    Geologist Kathleen...

    04/11/2017 - 07:00 Earth, Climate
  • News

    Deadly New Zealand quake hopscotched across faults

    A seemingly impossible earthquake that rattled New Zealand last November casts doubt on how well seismologists can forecast quakes involving multiple fault lines.

    Retracing the path of the magnitude 7.8 temblor using satellite and seismic data, researchers discovered that the earthquake involved at least 12 major faults and was far more widespread and powerful than predicted by seismic...

    03/23/2017 - 14:38 Earth
  • Reviews & Previews

    To understand rivers, let physics be your guide

    Where the River FlowsSean W. FlemingPrinceton Univ.$26.95

    Spend an hour wandering along a river and you may wonder why the water rushing by chose this particular path over any other. While many nature writers might offer philosophical musings on the subject, Where the River Flows author Sean Fleming has physics on his side.

    Physics isn’t the lens through which most people think...

    03/19/2017 - 08:00 Physics, Earth
  • News

    Remnants of Earth’s original crust preserve time before plate tectonics

    Not all of the newborn Earth’s surface has been lost to time. Transformed bits of this rocky material remain embedded in the hearts of continents, new research suggests. These lingering remnants hint that full-fledged plate tectonics, the movements of large plates of Earth’s outer shell, began relatively late in the planet’s history, researchers report in the March 17 Science.

    These...

    03/16/2017 - 14:00 Earth
  • News

    Warming soils may belch much more carbon

    As the planet warms, carbon stashed in Earth’s soils could escape into the atmosphere far faster than previously thought. In the worst-case scenario for climate change, carbon dioxide emissions from soil-dwelling microbes could increase by 34 to 37 percent by 2100, researchers report online March 9 in Science. Previous studies predicted a more modest 9 to 12 percent rise if no efforts are...

    03/09/2017 - 14:00 Earth, Climate